IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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Biology

Differing from the usual rapid breeding of most rabbit species, the riverine rabbit produces just one kitten a year. In a polygynous mating system, males make use of their large home ranges to mate with every female in their territory (2). Between August and May (3), the females will make a nest in a burrow lined with grass and fur, and blocked with soil and twigs (4). They give birth to a helpless, blind and hairless kitten 35 days after mating (5). This underdeveloped offspring will remain will its mother for some time before dispersing (2). The riverine rabbit is nocturnal, spending the night feeding on flowers, leaves and grasses, and the day in shallow depressions under bushes, hiding from predators such as black eagles. At night the droppings are firm, but during the day they are soft and are immediately eaten after deposition. This behaviour is known as coprophagia and occurs in rabbits as their digestive system is basic, and re-ingestion allows further extraction of calcium and phosphorous, as well as the absorption of vitamin B that is produced by the bacteria of the hind gut during the initial ingestion (2).

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Source: ARKive

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